Late last month the Colorado Supreme Court voted to implement the Proposed Civil Access Pilot Project, which was the subject of a lengthy public hearing in January. The program will go into effect on January 1, 2012. The pilot stage of the project will last two years and will be implemented in much of the Denver metro area.
Those judicial districts participating in the pilot project are:
- First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin Counties);
- Second Judicial District (Denver County);
- Seventeenth Judicial District (Adams County);
- Eighteenth Judicial District (Arapahoe and Douglas Counties); and
- Twentieth Judicial District (Boulder County).
The goal of the program is to increase access to justice and provide for a more speedy resolution of cases. This is achieved through civil rule changes designed to streamline civil lawsuits; changes to the discovery rules in certain cases will, if effective, cut down on excessive delays and costs.
Interestingly, the program was originally designed and proposed to include discovery changes for medical malpractice suits, but the Colorado Supreme Court specifically excluded those and other professional malpractice cases from the final project implementation. The pilot project rules will also not apply to employment cases, construction defect actions, cases where the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act may provide a defense, and cases involving wages and forcible entry. The main focus of the pilot project changes will apply generally to business actions with some exceptions.